The title pretty much sums up what I'm about to start ranting about. But I will still rant sha. In detail.
One common practice which I believe needs to be scrapped with immediacy and alacrity (yes, the occasion warrants using English words which Nigerians overuse and abuse well well) is giving children the names of their fathers, grandfathers and in fact, their ancestors.
Boys (not girls) are overwhelmingly affected by this practice. I mean, how often do you hear a girl being called Mary, Junior, for example? Or Florence, Junior? Or even Mulikat the third? Not common, if at all. I know in Yoruba culture, for example, because of our strong belief in reincarnation, we have names for children based on relatives who have passed on, e.g.:
Yetunde - Mother has returned
Babatunde - Father has returned
The Igbo equivalent of Babatunde is Nnamdi. Same meaning.
This post is not dedicated to addressing those types of names.
What I have a problem with is the practice of literally giving a child the name(s) of his father or grandfather and just tacking a suffix at the end e.g. Junior, I (the First), II (the Second), III (the Third).
Even though this is not common with girls or women, I am sure you have heard of or even know boys and men who were named after their fathers or grandfathers or some other older ancestor. For example:
Richard Bankole, III (the third)
Tonye Richardson, Jr. (Junior)
Fidelis Opara, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
You get the picture.
It just raises so many questions, such as the following:
- Have we run out of names to give children?
- Why would you want your child to be called or referred to as "Junior" or "the Third" for the rest of his life?
- Do we lack creativity when it comes to giving names to children?
I believe each child has a unique, God-given destiny and that names are prophetic. I also believe that each child is entitled to his own name. It is unfair to simply "dash" a child the name belonging to another person and worse still subject him to a life where he is forever called "Junior."
We need to change our ways. There are too many wonderful names out there to give to children to give any excuses. Pick one and let your ancestors bear their own names.
*Image Credit: Flickr